Welcome to the 298th edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- ToTok, an up and coming chat app, was pulled from Google Play this week amid spying allegations. The New York Times accused the app of spying for the United Arab Emirates. It’s currently most popular across the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and Asia. It’s also taking hold in the North America. However, the founders released a statement to refute all of those charges. It’s an ongoing thing right now and we’ll update you when we hear more info.
- Ookla, maker of the venerable Speedtest site everybody uses, is rolling out a VPN in their app right now. The service is in beta and should have both a free and premium tier. This might not be a horrible idea because a lot of people carry the Speedtest app around on their phone anyway. The free option supports up to 2GB of data per month and the premium tiers increase that limit. Hit the link to learn more.
- Huawei is working on a replacement for all of Google’s apps. The company says some will be ready by the end of the year. Huawei plans to create its own app ecosystem similar to Google and basically just replace Google’s APIs with its own. It’s a complicated process and there are a lot of ethical and technical questions but Huawei seems intent on making all of this work.
- Facebook had a rather exciting Christmas week. The first bit of news was a data breach. It affect 261 million people and included unique IDs, phone numbers, full names, and timestamped data. We recommend everybody change up their passwords as is the drill when something like this happens. The other news was the potential for Facebook to develop its own smartphone OS to compete with Android and Apple.
- Action Launcher received a big update this week. It now works with Android 10 gesture navigation. It’s important because third party launchers didn’t have this capability when Android 10 launched. However, it seems like this is the first step of making that problem a thing of the past. Some phones still can’t use it, but at least it’s a start.
Price: $2.99 with in-app purchases
Wanna Survive is a retro-style strategy game with a classic zombie twist. You recruit a team, fight zombies, and try to make your way to safety. It plays very similarly to the PC version of the game and the PC version is a little difficult. Characters who die in the game are permanently gone and you have to not only strategize in combat, but also decide things like who gets to eat on any given day. There are in-app purchases for coins, but they’re unnecessary to play and complete the game as far as we can tell.
Microsoft Learn Chinese
Microsoft Learn Chinese is Microsoft’s first foray into language learning. It boasts lessons by educational experts, various little quizzes and games to keep things interesting, and chat bots to practice your conversational skills. The app has a good looking UI that is both clean and functional without being overly cluttered or confusing. Additionally, it’s entirely free with no in-app purchases or ads. However, the app is occasionally slow and there are many complaints of bug issues and app freezing. We hope Microsoft cleans this up because we like the idea.
Price: Free to play
Last Cloudia is a mobile RPG with some neat game play mechanics and colorful graphics. At its core, it’s a free to play gacha mobile RPG. However, it also features simplified combat, some over-the-top cinematics, and customizable character growth. It also has the usual staples like online PvP and some voice acting. It has a lot of potential but it’s still a little bit rough around the edges. It should get better over time as more bug fixes roll out.
Price: Free / Up to $12.99
Tile Shortcuts is a neat customization app. It uses Android’s ability to add quick tiles to the quick settings menu to let you add whatever you want. You can create quick tiles for apps, website URLs, and more. The developer is working on extending the list even further as well. It’s a simple app and it worked fine in our testing. This kind of customization is a bit niche, but we appreciate it when app does it well.
Spies in Disguise: Agents on the Run
Price: Free to play
Spies in Disguise: Agents of the Run is an endless runner game with a tie-in to the Spies in Disguise movie. It’s not the most imaginative endless runner and most of the mechanics should be familiar from other games. However, you can play as characters from the movie, the game actually plays fairly well, and the colorful graphics and simple game play make it a decent family-friendly choice. A few people experienced some bugs, but it worked fine for us.